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philosopher

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philosopher last won the day on August 3 2012

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    Ian
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    Software developer living in Australia.
  1. I think some in the computer revolution have a libertarian philosophy, and the idea that computers could have egalitarian effects. Ayn Rand doesn't really fit it in to that, he was selecting facts to fit his thesis. And he incorrectly states Objectivism is about selfishness in the traditional sense. The whole thing seems a bit mental for something made by the BBC.
  2. It's deeper than "Dobbie is a free elf!" political stuff, it's metaphysical too. Even though they are ostensibly casting magical spells, they can't just make them work by clicking their fingers. They have to learn the exact incantation and exact hand actions etc. So even though it's magic it's really cause and effect. It's very English in that way.
  3. Ayn Rand tried to discover a reality-basis for the concept of morality. What she found was surprising. She discovered that morality does not exist between you and others (as is traditionally thought) but between your actions and you (for proof of this see her writings). So logically, if morality is "all about" the relationship between your actions and you, then altruism, which in it's purest form is directing all your actions away from yourself, must almost be the definition of evil, right? The only tiny sliver of morality that has anything to do with other people is the non-initiation o
  4. I would question the idea that pollution is a long term problem. It seems to come from specific technologies (e.g. batteries), not all technologies. And as people have become educated about it, they are demanding cleaner technolgies and we see that all around us. Historically capitalism has given the most tech progress, so it is the quickest way to save the planet. Long term threats are nearly always ideas not concretes.
  5. It's definitely moral for the people concerned to try and end their suffering. Morality as a concept mostly pertains to how you act towards yourself, not how you act towards other people. If you tried to end the suffering of others I'm not sure what that would be called.
  6. For those of you in Australia, the documentary "Ayn Rand: In Her Own Words" recently aired on ABC and is available free to view on the iView website for another 8 days: http://www.abc.net.au/iview/
  7. Sure there is. You can't prevent violence, but you can ban it. You have courts and a police force and make it publically known that anyone who is violent will be subject to that system. But how would seek justice without a government? Do you advocate vigilantism? Surely objectively, evenly applied law is better, and that requires a court system where a 3rd party decides the sentence. Also, by the logic that only the victim can seek justice, nothing would ever be done about murder, since the victim is dead. I think you have a principled position, but it is not based on rational princ
  8. But Al Qaeda destroyed the twin towers and they are not a government. People can just get together with others who have similar ideas and form groups, and those groups can get ugly. But you can't ban the forming of all groups, what about good groups? You have to look at the fundamental problem which is violence and ban that, and then you need someone to enforce it which is a government.
  9. I would prefer there were no wars, but you can't let terrorists just plan and plot with impunity. Unless you go on the offensive they will just keep coming forever. BTW, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are not bankrupting the US, it is social programs that are doing that. This document is a few years old but there are several similar documents on the web and it shows that even at peak expenditure, the Iraq war cost only 1% of GDP. Speaking purely financially, the US could maintain the current presence in Afghanistan and Iraq "forever" and not go bankrupt. http://fpc.state.gov/documents/or
  10. Being prevented from killing another human being (once it meets that criteria) is not an act of force against you, it is the whole reason for having a government. My understanding of your argument is that you think it's irrelevant if the fetus becomes a human being at some point or not, because before that point it is not a human being and therefore ok to abort, and after that point even if it is a human being it is a rights violator for taking sustenance from the mother and therefore still ok to abort. I agree with the first half, that it is ok to abort a non-human being. But I disagre
  11. Dr. Peikoff clarified what he meant by "egalitarian nihilist" in his podcast #163.
  12. That is an excellent point. Also, another related point is that the perceptual level happens automatically, so a purely perceptual being can not have free will. Concepts require effort to form and are therefore optional and therefore closely related (not sure how exactly) to our freedom of action. So a fetus (and even a small baby) not only was it forced in to that position by the mother, it has no free will to change it on its own.
  13. I have never heard this argument before, that the fetus could be regarded as a rights violator, so thanks. It is interesting, but I have two objections: (1) Is the fetus really a separate organism, or is it part of the mother's body? For example I believe the fetus shares the mother's bloodstream. Because I'm not sure that a part of your own body can violate your rights. Would a tumor be a rights violator for example (though I apologise for the horrible analogy)? On the other hand it does have different DNA, but why should that be the deciding factor instead of it's physical separation?
  14. Good find. But the thing about Objectivism is that once you understand it, you realise it's not just an opinion, it's actually true - something she discovered. But on that page he says he is not an Objectivist. So assuming he values truth, he mustn't have understood it yet. So he is teaching a course on something he doesn't understand.
  15. Leftists have this idea that everyone going to Uni is somehow an ideal, but not everyone has an academic mindset and they will make some people miserable who could otherwise have had happy lives.
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